What Are Unexpected Challenges in Global Trade Compliance?


    What Are Unexpected Challenges in Global Trade Compliance?

    Navigating the complex waters of global trade compliance brings its share of surprises, as attested by supply chain and operations executives. From the crucial need to audit stakeholder compliance regularly to the agility required to adapt quickly to regulatory changes, discover the seven unique challenges and solutions provided by seasoned professionals in the field.

    • Audit Stakeholder Compliance Regularly
    • Standardize International Documentation
    • Create In-House Compliance Teams
    • Navigate Sanctions with Clear Processes
    • Bridge Cultural Gaps in Trade
    • Research Local Regulations Thoroughly
    • Adapt Quickly to Regulatory Changes

    Audit Stakeholder Compliance Regularly

    Being aware and performing your due diligence as a company for consistent audit and verification of regulatory compliance with your stakeholders and partners is critical to ensure that rules, regulations, and laws are being followed as up-to-date (current and relevant) as possible. Managing this will ensure you are capturing any changes or necessary corrections to your process. It is also important to understand the origin of the charges on documents and to inquire to understand what they reflect. Taking these measures will provide additional validation that you are aware and current on the global standards for material movement and transactions.

    Georgina FenningNational Supply Chain Manager

    Standardize International Documentation

    One unexpected challenge I've encountered is managing the diverse documentation requirements, like Shippers' Letters of Instruction (SLI) and customs clearance forms, for different countries. For example, South Africa and the USA have specific documentation, while certain clients in other countries require an SLI no matter where the shipment is going. To handle this, we've created a standardized process for preparing and submitting these documents, ensuring compliance and preventing delays. Recording these procedures has been key to staying on top of these requirements.

    Steven RoosLogistics Coordinator, Tradecore International Limited

    Create In-House Compliance Teams

    Navigating the complexities of global trade compliance, particularly varied export regulations, proved to be a significant challenge. During a major product rollout, I encountered differing requirements in multiple regions, necessitating a tailored approach. To address this, I led the creation of an in-house compliance team and instituted a detailed training program on local and international rules.

    Establishing robust channels with local legal experts was crucial for swiftly resolving compliance issues. This proactive strategy not only mitigated delays but also maintained strong international partnerships. This approach ensured the successful and timely launch of our product. The experience underscored the importance of comprehensive compliance frameworks in global operations.

    Ace Zhuo
    Ace ZhuoBusiness Development Director (Sales and Marketing), Tech & Finance Expert, TradingFXVPS

    Navigate Sanctions with Clear Processes

    The biggest surprise in global trade compliance has been the difficulty of navigating sanctions and export controls during geopolitical turmoil. This has led to delays and headaches in ensuring compliance.

    We address it by maintaining clear, well-documented processes for screening customers, monitoring regulatory changes, and obtaining the necessary export licenses. We implemented new software tools and workflow automation to help streamline these compliance activities across our global operations.

    We proactively contacted our impacted customers to have transparent, solutions-oriented conversations. Rather than abruptly cutting them off, we worked collaboratively to identify alternative sourcing options, procure the necessary licenses, or explore other creative workarounds that would allow us to continue serving their needs compliantly.

    This open, consultative approach was critical in preserving important customer relationships and maintaining the trust of our global stakeholders. It also helped us navigate the situation with minimal business disruption.

    Josh Qian
    Josh QianCOO and Co-Founder, Best Online Cabinets

    Bridge Cultural Gaps in Trade

    I have encountered many challenges with global trade compliance. A big one has been overcoming cultural differences when we expanded our services internationally. For example, when we entered the Asian market, we found that the way business relationships are built and maintained was very different from what we were used to in Western countries.

    In many Asian cultures, building trust and long-term relationships before any formal business is done is paramount. To address this, we invested time to understand the cultural nuances and build personal relationships with our partners. We hired local consultants who were knowledgeable about the cultural subtleties and could bridge the gap between our business practices and local expectations. We also provided cultural sensitivity training to our team to ensure smooth communication and cooperation.

    Gil Dodson
    Gil DodsonOwner, Corridor Recycling

    Research Local Regulations Thoroughly

    One unexpected challenge I've encountered in global trade compliance involved navigating the complexities of Customs duties and non-tariff barriers like quotas and technical regulations. For example, when shipping our gardening products internationally, we faced a significant hurdle with varying technical standards across different countries. This required us to thoroughly research and understand each country's specific regulations to ensure our products met all necessary requirements.

    In one case, we had to redesign a product label to comply with a country's stringent technical specifications, which further delayed our entry into that market.

    To address these challenges, I established a dedicated compliance team and partnered with local experts to stay updated on regulatory changes, which ensured smoother operations and reduced the risk of non-compliance. This experience underlined the importance of meticulous planning and adaptability in international trade.

    Mike Drouin
    Mike DrouinCo-founder, Digital Marketing Director, Gardening & Home Improvement Expert, Reefertilizer

    Adapt Quickly to Regulatory Changes

    Many times, negotiating the complexities of international commerce compliance presents unforeseen difficulties. An unanticipated modification in import documentation requirements by a foreign government delayed a major shipment essential to our product's introduction. We needed to act quickly in this situation.

    We responded by getting right in touch with local advisors who were knowledgeable about the regulatory climate in the area. At the same time, I oversaw an internal process assessment to ensure improved compliance with the ever-changing regulatory environments in our main markets. This included integrating a real-time regulatory change warning system into our regular operations.

    This experience taught me the importance of adaptable procedures and local knowledge in international commerce. It became clear that a proactive rather than reactive strategy is required.

    Justin Crabbe
    Justin CrabbeCEO, BlackJet